Chances are, you or someone you know has struggled with mental health issues.
Utah has chronically suffered from some of the worst mental health statistics in the nation. This is not a passive issue. It can affect the very core of families across the state.
A state like Utah, which often lacks appropriate access to good treatment options and often places a stigma on those with mental health issues, is only hurting its populations.
Strong examples of the consequences stemming from neglected mental health services and treatment options include frequent mental distress increasing 42% from 10.6% to 15.0% between 2015 and 2020 in Utah, on average 640 Utahns dying by suicide each year, and emergency departments seeing about 6,500 people every year for suicide-related behaviors.
Suffering from mental health-related problems does not discriminate. Anyone can fall victim to poor mental health. Subsequently, even you may one day need to seek treatment for your mental health.
If the prospect of having to seek this treatment in Utah now sounds frightening it’s because it should.
However, laws that can dramatically increase the effectiveness of Utah’s mental health system could be right around the corner.
House Bill 167, sponsored by Representative Brady Brammer, has been passed by the Utah State Legislature. This bill will commission a task force to explore psychotherapy drugs for mental illness treatment.
The bill will create a group of medical and legal professionals to study the legitimacy of psychotherapy drugs for mental health (for example, psilocybin — the active ingredient in what are sometimes called “magic mushrooms”).
There is substantial and extremely promising research that has been conducted in recent years that this group can review as they consider what a path forward might be for Utah to consider allowing this option legally.
This legislation is exciting as it serves as the first step for Utah to become a leader in providing new and promising therapeutics to those suffering from severe anxiety, depression, PTSD, and more.